Monday, November 22, 2010
The Snarking of the Hunt
In an earlier exegesis of this stanzel (see the THOTS link below) I waxed eloquent on the colonial and post-colonial nuances of the Baker’s fear of Boojum-Orientalism.
Luckily for us, Boojum-Colonialism is no longer a threat to world peace since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, some Boojums are even our allies now, isn’t that jolly? But I digress …
Readers will remember that in this version of the Snark, the Snark is represented by a bodiless Eye, a homophonous lunge at some sort of deeper meaning or possibly even a clumsy threat.
In any case, the Baker’s panic at being threatened by teddy-bears and soap and matches and his parental homunculi is being exacerbated by the leering presence of the Eye in the closet behind him.
It is this gaze of the Boojum Snark which is lethal, that is what the Baker fears, it’s a gaze which will make him vanish which is rather odd because when an Eye sees something, the owner of the Eye will usually say that this something has appeared to them.
This business of mismatching words and sense (with logical precision) is called Nonsense and Lewis Carroll is the acknowledged master and sole proprietor. His Snark is not only his finest and longest Nonsense verse, it is also the only real Victorian epic poem ever written and best of all, it was meant for young people.
So I’m tickled pink that the learned Eileen Reynolds, in her review of this Snark in the New Yorker blog, saw fit to emphasize that this version of the Snark is perfectly suitable for children and teenagers of a literate and inquisitive disposition because that is the entire point!
As she puts it so concisely, "older children eager to leave the world of candy-colored cuteness behind" will have a jolly time with this GN Snark and I do fervently hope that their visual and cultural curiosity will be spurred on by the artwork.
Intelligent young people deprived of culture, it is this that we cannot endure!
Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
• Hey-hey, ho-ho, the Baker’s Tale has got to go!